Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Teachers Union President Is 'all in' on Full Fall Reopening
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 3 years ago on
May 13, 2021

Share

The president of the American Federation of Teachers said Thursday there should be a full return to in-person learning in the fall and her union is “all in” on bringing students back to the classroom.

In an address on social media, Randi Weingarten said the wide availability of vaccines and a new infusion of federal education money have removed many obstacles that prevented schools from opening.

“Conditions have changed,” Weingarten said. “We can and we must reopen schools in the fall for in-person teaching, learning and support. And keep them open. Fully and safely, five days a week.”

Union Demands and Vaccines Biggest Factors for Schools Reopening

If local unions heed her call, it would be seen as a major stride in the effort to reopen schools. Teachers unions have been blamed for slowing the process with demands for a variety of safety measures. Teachers in some districts have refused to return until ventilations systems are updated, virus tests are given and all teachers are vaccinated.

Weingarten said vaccines have been the decisive factor in her vision for a fall reopening. President Joe Biden in March ordered states to prioritize teachers in vaccination rollouts, and by the end of that month, federal health officials said 80% of school workers had been given their first shot.

“I hear it in educators’ voices and see it in our polling results,” the union chief said. “The fear that they will bring the virus home decreases the moment educators get the shots.”

Surveys by the union find that 89% of its 1.7 million members have been fully vaccinated or want to be, she said.

Still, Weingarten isn’t suggesting a quick return to the type of schooling students knew before the pandemic. She said schools should continue with mask requirements, social distancing, contact tracing and other measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It’s not risk free,” Weingarten said. “But we can manage the threat by encouraging people to get vaccines and following guidance from the CDC.”

The union will continue to push for 3 feet of space between students in classrooms, which the CDC recommended in March after reducing it from 6 feet. Weingarten said schools should work over the summer to “find adequate space” to maintain smaller classes throughout the school year.

Her address came after a unanimous vote from the union’s executive council approving her message for the fall.

Biden’s Aid Package Also Gives Push for Schools to Reopen

A $1.9 trillion aid package that Biden signed in March included $123 billion to help schools reopen and recover from the pandemic. Weingarten, who endorsed Biden, wrote that his administration has been “fighting the pandemic with science, truth, transparency and, yes, money.”

“The United States will not be fully back until we are fully back in school. And my union is all in,” she said.

The CDC has been saying since February that schools can safely reopen with certain safety measures, but many of the nation’s largest districts have remained mostly or entirely online. The latest federal data found that, in March, 54% of public elementary and middle schools were offering five days a week of in-person instruction to all students.

Even in districts that have reopened, many students have opted to stay at home, including a disproportionate share of nonwhite students. Weingarten is suggesting that schools create committees of parents and teachers to tackle safety issues. That, along with continued safety measures, would help rebuild trust with families, she said.

The union is also coming out with a $5 million campaign to push for a fall reopening. The group said it will reach out to teachers, families and communities to highlight the value of getting all students back in the classroom. A local union in Pittsburgh plans to go door to door talking about safety measures in place in schools. Other local groups are helping operate vaccination clinics for students and families.

“When I tell you we’re all in,” Weingarten says, “we’re all in.”

DON'T MISS

Who Owns Businesses in California? A Lawmaker Wants the Public to Know

DON'T MISS

$11M State Grant Will Help Fresno’s Emergency Shelter Beds, Mental Health Services

DON'T MISS

City Council Finally Gives New NW Fresno Costco a Green Light

DON'T MISS

Prop 47 Reformers Send Nearly a Million Signatures to Sacramento

DON'T MISS

BTC Scammy Scams, Impact of Blockchain on Global Markets: Crypto The WonderDog Show

DON'T MISS

US Vetoes Full United Nations Membership for Palestine

DON'T MISS

Barbara Corcoran: 1% Interest Rate Drop Will Send Housing Prices ‘Through the Roof’

DON'T MISS

Cavinder Twins Are Returning to Miami for Their Last Season

DON'T MISS

California Sets Long-Awaited Drinking Water Limit for ‘Erin Brockovich’ Contaminant

DON'T MISS

Savannah Bananas Dominate Social Media, Sell Out Stadiums Nationwide Including Fresno

UP NEXT

Juror Dismissed From Trump Hush Money Trial. Prosecutors Seek to Hold Former President in Contempt

UP NEXT

Biden Backs House’s Aid Package for Ukraine, Israel While Speaker Johnson Battles to Retain Position

UP NEXT

Myanmar’s Ousted Leader Suu Kyi Moved From Prison to House Arrest Due to Heat, Military Says

UP NEXT

NPR Editor Suspended Over Claims of Network’s ‘Progressive Worldview’

UP NEXT

Wall Street’s Mixed Trading Day

UP NEXT

New Recruiting Programs Put Army, Air Force on Track to Meet Enlistment Goals. Navy Will Fall Short

UP NEXT

Justice Thomas Misses Supreme Court Session Monday With No Explanation

UP NEXT

‘Civil War’ Declares Victory at the Box Office, Toppling ‘Godzilla X Kong’

UP NEXT

Scheffler Turns the Masters Into Another Sunday Yawner With a Dominating Win

UP NEXT

Vegas, US Tour and More Signings: Wrexham Has Plenty of Fun and Work Ahead After Latest Promotion

Prop 47 Reformers Send Nearly a Million Signatures to Sacramento

13 hours ago

BTC Scammy Scams, Impact of Blockchain on Global Markets: Crypto The WonderDog Show

14 hours ago

US Vetoes Full United Nations Membership for Palestine

14 hours ago

Barbara Corcoran: 1% Interest Rate Drop Will Send Housing Prices ‘Through the Roof’

15 hours ago

Cavinder Twins Are Returning to Miami for Their Last Season

16 hours ago

California Sets Long-Awaited Drinking Water Limit for ‘Erin Brockovich’ Contaminant

16 hours ago

Savannah Bananas Dominate Social Media, Sell Out Stadiums Nationwide Including Fresno

18 hours ago

Biden is Off on Details of His Uncle’s WWII Death as He Calls Trump Unfit to Lead the Military

19 hours ago

Big Names in Rap, Christian Music, and Comedy Headline Must-See Weekend Entertainment

19 hours ago

US and UK Issue New Sanctions on Iran in Response to Tehran’s Weekend Attack on Israel

19 hours ago

Who Owns Businesses in California? A Lawmaker Wants the Public to Know

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California lawmaker wants to require business owners and landlords to disclose their identities under legislation aim...

30 mins ago

30 mins ago

Who Owns Businesses in California? A Lawmaker Wants the Public to Know

12 hours ago

$11M State Grant Will Help Fresno’s Emergency Shelter Beds, Mental Health Services

12 hours ago

City Council Finally Gives New NW Fresno Costco a Green Light

13 hours ago

Prop 47 Reformers Send Nearly a Million Signatures to Sacramento

Crypto the WonderDog Show
14 hours ago

BTC Scammy Scams, Impact of Blockchain on Global Markets: Crypto The WonderDog Show

14 hours ago

US Vetoes Full United Nations Membership for Palestine

15 hours ago

Barbara Corcoran: 1% Interest Rate Drop Will Send Housing Prices ‘Through the Roof’

16 hours ago

Cavinder Twins Are Returning to Miami for Their Last Season

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend